Warts are unsightly and often tender or painful, causing most patients with warts to seek treatment. Primary treatment usually involves destruction of the wart using one of a number of different techniques, including cutting it out, applying salicylic acid, freezing it with liquid nitrogen and laser vaporization, according to background information provided in the article. Because wart proliferation is controlled by the immune system, various methods have been tried to stimulate an immune response to the human papillomavirus (HPV), the cause of skin warts. Previous studies have shown that injecting a wart with an antigen preparation of mumps, Candida (a cause of yeast infections) or Trichophyton (a cause of fungal infections) clears the wart and other distant and distinct warts. These skin test antigens, although they can not cause or promote infection themselves, cause a reaction on the skin if a person has been previously exposed to mumps, Candida or Trichophyton, and are used to test for immunity.
Thomas D. Horn, M.D., of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, and colleagues conducted a randomized, clinical trial to determine the effectiveness of wart treatment with injection of skin test antigen. Warts were injected with antigen alone, antigen plus interferon alfa-2b (a chemical produced by the immune system), interferon alfa-2b alone or normal saline. Patients who had more than one wart were also tested for an immune response to HPV. Because interferon alfa-2b had no impact on the results, the patient data were analyzed in two groups, those who had received antigen and those who did not.
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